The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is proposing to fund P667.5 million worth of road concreting projects in the province of Iloilo for 2017 under its Kalsada program.
Interior Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento, in a letter dated April 21, 2016 to Gov. Arthur Defensor, said the money will be sourced from the proposed P39-billion fund of the scaled-up Kalsada program.
Kalsada stands for Konkreto at Ayos na Lansangan at Daan Tungo sa Pangkalahatang Kaunlaran, a local roads rehabilitation program being implemented in 73 provinces.
"This is a welcome development and a concrete proof that this government is very much concerned with Iloilo's welfare," Defensor said.
"This is the reason why the gains of the Aquino administration must be sustained beyond 2016," he added.
This year, Kalsada has a funding of P6.5 billion, but the League of Provinces of the Philippines in which Defensor is the national chairman successfully convinced the Department of Budget and Management to scale this up to P39 billion.
"With this good news, the proposed allocation for your province in 2017 is P667,481,662.59 million pesos. These funds will be released directly to your province," Sarmiento wrote Defensor.
Of the proposed amount, Iloilo will provide a counterpart of 30 percent or P200.25 million, resulting to total of budget of P867.75 million for road concreting.
The allocation will translate to about 57.85 kms of paved roads, with a thickness of 10 inches and a width of 6.10 meters, at an estimated cost of P15 million per kilometer.
"Over the last six years, we have experienced how good governance has improved lives," Sarmiento added. "LGUs are directly benefiting from meaningful devolution, which has enabled us to support you to broaden technical capacities, governance and oversight of effective service delivery to your constituents."
On April 30, Defensor broke ground for the concreting of a 15.3-kilometer road project connecting the towns of Anilao, Dingle and San Enrique that is funded by the Kalsada program, a project which he described as "a dream come true."
Iloilo has a total of 675.45 kms of provincial road where around 53 kms are now being paved, which includes the 28-km Imbang Grande-Gemumua Agahon road project in Passi City and the 10-km Poblacion-Tacuyong Norte road project in the town of Leon.
The last two projects are funded by the World Bank-Department of Agriculture's Provincial Rural Development Program (PRDP).
In the pipeline under the PRDP are the 7-km Parara-Jamog road project in the town of Tigbauan and the 4.5-km San Antonio-Lambuyao-Abilay road project in Oton.
Sarmiento commended Defensor for Iloilo's performance in the pilot year of the Kalsada program.
"Ultimately, you and your accomplishments are proof that transparent, accountable and empowering leadership can bring the country to a confident future where no Filipino is left behind," he told the governor.
Through Defensor, Sarmiento requested the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to pass a resolution urging Iloilo congressmen "to support our mutual efforts to strengthen LGUs across the country, especially as we champion the institutionalization of Kalsada."